Commentary

Brand Like A Challenger

“No.” This is the likely response when companies are faced with the decision of whether to add a new brand to their portfolio. It’s been the default answer. But the world is changing — drastically. Though disciplined brand management is as important as ever, it’s time to reconsider this approach.

Today’s brands are hatching at an accelerated pace, which means portfolio management needs to be more dynamic than ever. In the last year, we’ve seen Volkswagen’s MOIAFidelity GoApple’s HomepodMicrosoft Teams and Time Inc.’s Coinage come to market. And that’s barely scratching the surface.

The explosion of technology has reached every touchpoint of our lives, and it won’t slow down anytime soon. This means that new competitors are disrupting long-standing industries and creating entirely new ones and brands are being created from scratch, with less investment than ever. Consumers now embrace, and even prefer, brands they don’t yet know — a cultural shift that affects both B2C and B2B relationships.

Join the movement. Strong corporate brands that keep up with the speed of change and say “yes” along the way are energizing their portfolios. They’re in pursuit of objectives that can mean the difference between slipping into irrelevance and leading the charge. It’s not just about endurance; it’s about meaning more in the long run. This is how they do it.

Innovate to dissolve boundaries 

Leading businesses don’t just cover currently defined segments, they create new ones. They don’t stay contained within their current business definitions, they blur the boundaries to expand their scope. Innovation demands experimenting with new value propositions and business models. This process can create new avenues of growth in existing parts of your business, or it can take your business into areas that solve problems for customers in entirely new ways.

For customers, these value propositions are tied to specific offerings and not the institution. Microsoft created Azure to accentuate its move beyond the desktop into enterprise-grade cloud computing applications and services. At IBM, Watson personifies a new business model based on cognitive power to bridge gaps between humans, data and machines. And Amazon created Alexa to move beyond e-commerce to artificial intelligence, accelerating the company towards a new horizon that understands the emotions and behavioral quirks of the customer of the future.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a challenger 

Across industries, large established corporations often find it difficult to compete against emerging, nimble competitors. Rather than change the direction of the entire business to address these entrants, introducing a new portfolio brand, built from scratch and embodying an innovative value proposition, can both shine a light on what is cutting-edge and unique about your business, and what can create new markets and revenue streams to drive growth.

As we’ve become conditioned to embrace and absorb what’s new at the tap of a screen, brands are moving from nascent to beloved at unprecedented speed. Far from being a lengthy and expensive process, “hatching” challenger brands are proving that building something new can be done more quickly and cheaply than ever, in ways that keep you a step ahead instead of racing to catch up.

Meet customers right where they are

Technology has fundamentally disrupted the paradigm of brand building. Each breakthrough app, platform or service moves customers from having an affinity for what they already know to believing in what is new. This opens up space for separate portfolio brands to extend current customer relationships and capture the interest of new audiences.

Be the brand tomorrow's talent wants to work for

Creating new segments and new value propositions takes the right kind of employee. Today’s top talent seeks greater collaboration, bottom-up empowerment, the freedom to stray and a customer problem they are deeply passionate about solving.

A new portfolio brand can signal this type of organizational culture, attracting would-be change agents willing to think beyond what has been and look to create the future.

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